In the end, TV money may control the game. If Tech got double or triple the money it currently receives from conference distributions for switching leagues, I bet the administration would take a very hard look at that situation...
And they would note just how much research grants dwarf that money, and choose to remain in the ACC where there are (a) more AAU members to help us gain admission, and (b) existing research partnerships with VT.
We're not going anywhere. And it's the right (non-)move.
fallacy to link research $ and conf membership imo. Has VT's links to research with GT, NCSU, Duke, UNC, UVA... increased significantly since 2004? Are faculty members steered to partnerships with schools based on football teams (if so, I actually weep for America's future)? I don't think that is right no matter how many times it is written.
This argument of conference affiliation and academics is a big myth. VT's research grant revenue over the last 10-15 years has been virtually the same regardless of conference affiliation - VT has been in the 45-55 range on a consistent basis. Our largest research partnerships with other universities (UMD and WF) occurred when VT was in the BigEast and not the ACC. Additionally, traditional sources of University funding (grants, state $, tuition) are getting tighter and University Presidents and State Legislators are (or better be) looking to grow other sources of revenue. A University's entertainment (sports) portfolio is a growing revenue stream that most should be looking to maximize.
That's some big money for vt to turn down, and a schedule of Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, while rotating in another division and 2 from a third wouldn't be too tough.
Howabout this schedule?
VT could win 10 games. Even if you flip A&M and Mizzou for teams like Florida and UGA, VT could get 10 or so W's. Anyhow, Steger should take a long and hard look at such a proposal. Especially if your talking 50 mil/yr.
It's perfect from the SEC standpoint too. They'd have a flagship or flagship equivalent in every southern state plus Texas and Missouri. I like the divisional breakdown you've layed out as well.
The drawbacks I see would come from getting all the necessary votes, as Alabama didn't want to give up their annual game with Tennessee with the current expansion and I could see similar complaints coming from going to 16 teams. I've heard Bama and Ole Miss hate having playing each other. Under this alignment they'd be one of only 3 team that they'd have to play every year. Can Florida, Georgia and Auburn do without playing Tennessee every year? It might be tricky getting the votes together.
more reasonable to expect schools to drop intercollegiate athletics than count on them as a positive revenue source. As best I can recall, very very very few schools make money off their athletics and honestly, they shouldn't be in the business of running semi-pro leagues. Do other countries even have university sports approaching the scope of what we do? As best I can tell, even the sports/activities crazed Australians here don't do intercollegiate athletics like we do (college age kids work out with club teams).